When it comes to home plumbing, a homeowner will not want to hear the phrase “broken water main.” Broken water mains have been known to flood homes with mud and even cause streets to crumble. In addition, a water main line repair can be a costly undertaking – in fact, this type of plumbing repair requires a professional plumber with a very specialized skill set. Therefore, it’s in every homeowner’s best interest to keep a close eye on the health and functionality of the home’s main water line.
Your water main is the pipe that connects your home plumbing to the public water supply. Monitoring your main water line can seem tricky. After all, it’s underground, inaccessible without digging and something most people don’t think about much. But by educating yourself a little bit about how your home plumbing interacts with the main line, you can learn to spot the telltale signs that a plumbing repair may be required.
Sign #1: Old pipes.
Every professional plumber knows old pipes are far more likely to break than newer pipes – especially if they’ve been patched up and repaired over the years. According to Next American City magazine, much of the underground water infrastructure in the United States is more than 100 years old. This means there’s a good chance many homeowners are unknowingly sitting on crumbling main water lines.
In addition to wear and tear over time, a water pipe’s life span can be affected by many things such as the materials it was made of and whether it was properly installed. In high-load areas, pipes can become overstressed and subject to breakage.
What homeowners can take away from all of this is that the older the main line to your home plumbing is, the more attention you should pay to it. If you know your system is old, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by a professional plumber. In some cases, replacing the outdated pipes may be the safest and most cost-effective solution.
Sign #2: Increased water usage.
Because your water main line is located underground, a leak can go undetected for months, especially if it’s a slow leak. Such leaks are often the first sign that a water main disaster (and the expense of a subsequent plumbing repair) is on the horizon. Plumbing leaks worsen over time so a leak today can become a broken water main tomorrow.
The best way to detect a water main leak before it snowballs into disaster is to monitor your family’s water usage. Keep an eye on your bill each month so you will be familiar with what’s normal. And if you see a large, unexplained spike in your water usage, that’s a sign you may need a water main line repair.
Sign #3: Puddles around your yard.
When there’s a leak in the water main line, all of that water has to go somewhere. Some of it will end up on the soil’s surface, creating puddles of water or mud around your yard. If you notice pooling water on your property that isn’t related to a recent heavy rainfall, this could be a sign you need a plumbing repair.